- 1 Etymology
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Principles
- 4 Chronology
- 5 Concept Art
- 6 Notes
- 7 External Link
- 8 References
The Star of Bethlehem is a celestial object appearing the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew. Held as a sign of the Messiah's birth, the star leads the three Magi to Jesus Christ's birthplace in Bethlehem.
The fortress was approximately 40km across, and in the rough shape of a cross, with bridges extending in four directions from the castle-like center. The right wing was twice as long than the others, likely due to Fiamma of the Right being in control. Being made from pieces of churches and cathedrals across the world, the Star of Bethlehem's surface had many different buildings from various cultures and time periods, as well as metal frames, pipes and light fixtures, possibly from the base where the initial 'space' was constructed. The mix of historical and modern structures was described as resembling somewhere from an old church. Even when assembled, the fortress's structure was still changing from moment to moment with its components shifting around.
The central 'space' constructed for the creation of the fortress was 7 kilometers long and 20 meters high, covered in snow while in the center of the Russian military base. There was a large entrance open in the wall for bringing in materials. The internal passage was similar to the inside of a Western castle, lacking decorations, made of stone and damp, with candles set on the wall at even intervals. Beyond the passage, a door led to a vast space - an area looking like a church under repair, made of old-looking stone with modern metal framework in places. A high-class chair and table, somewhat out of place with the surroundings, were positioned on some of the framework and used by Fiamma.
In the ceremonial altar (apparently a high-class one) situated in the rightmost corner of the fortress, there were several tens of thin poles surrounding the grounds, around 3cm in diameter and containing either black or white liquid. Black and white pairs of poles were placed together around the entrance. In the anime, the poles are much larger, like pipes, with more of them gathered together.
The Star of Bethlehem is a giant flying fortress in the rough shape of a cross, constructed from hundreds of thousands of important items from churches and cathedrals across the world. Symbolizing its namesake, the star which heralded the birth of the Son of God in Christianity, it is the ceremonial site for Fiamma of the Right's Project Bethlehem.
Construction and Flight
In order to construct the fortress, Fiamma required a specially consecrated 'space' to be created. As he couldn't cast normal magic (at least before he acquired the John's Pen Remote Control for Index Librorum Prohibitorum), 200 magicians were borrowed from the Russian Orthodox Church and helped prepare for the construction of this space, with Fiamma using them to learn knowledge of the necessary techniques. Working for Nikolai Tolstoy, the magicians had also tried to sabotage the fortress's construction so it could be dissembled at the bishop's command, but this was swiftly neutralized by Fiamma, who by then had the means to cast normal magic himself and learned the necessary knowledge for the construction techniques as they had worked - a reason for borrowing the magicians as well as getting the Russian Orthodox Church to lower their guard.
Once the 'space' was prepared and the key elements gathered, a self-expansion cycle was constructed and initiated, drawing holy items from many churches and cathedrals worldwide through the sky towards the consecrated 'space' to form the fortress, which simultaneously began its ascent. The star naturally sucked in all the parts it needed to construct itself and regenerated itself if damaged, even from bombardments on the level of the Sweep. When the Imagine Breaker made contact with a wall in the fortress, a hole was made in it with a radius of one meter from the hand, but the pieces floated rather than falling to the floor and soon moved back in to fill the hole (in the anime, it touched a pillar which remained mostly intact with only dirt falling).
As the Star of Bethlehem incorporated components from the Roman Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church, spells from all three churches were used for the joints in the fortress's construction. During the construction, the borrowed magicians tried to incorporate measures that could be used to dissemble the fortress's Russian joint spells but Fiamma swiftly neutralized them and severed the magical lines for their activation once he discarded Nikolai.
The Star of Bethlehem is kept aloft by twenty ascent spiritual items as large as multiple factory buildings, spread out across the four corners of the fortress. These propulsion devices share the same power source and the destruction of one will affect the power distribution to the others. The fortress was able to rapidly ascend to an altitude of 3 kilometers shortly after takeoff and eventually reached an altitude of over 10 kilometers through a more gradual ascent by the time it stopped rising. A barrier around the fortress kept temperature and air pressure in the immediate vicinity the same as on the surface.
Both the propulsion system and construction cycle are reliant on power from the Holy Right, and the loss of that power will result in the fortress's gradual and progressive collapse and descent.
There is a ceremonial altar located at the rightmost end of the fortress, which was used to summon Archangel Gabriel (in the form of Misha Kreutzev), using a method derived from Angel Fall and the residual Telesma within Sasha Kreutzev, and anchor the archangel's existence.
It was designed following the Christian style with a strong, uniform focus on the element of fire (which both Fiamma and Archangel Michael were aligned to), rather than using all four elements together like many other ceremonies. The altar's location also signified the element of fire and Archangel Michael, though the mixing of attributes caused by the Distortion of the Laws of the World allowed for Gabriel to be summoned instead, in the mixed form of Misha Kreutzev.
According to Sasha, the ceremony room was high class but used common spiritual items, with one exception - a staff (the staff or rod being the Symbolic Weapon of fire) which the John's Pen Remote Control was installed into, placed at the center of the room during the ceremony. Fiamma used the functionality of the remote control installed into the staff to command Misha, with the senses of the two linked. As part of the process for anchoring and maintaining the archangel's existence, there are several tens of pairs of poles containing black or white liquid, placed around the ceremonial ground and being paired together around the entrance as if drawing in energy from the outside.[Notes 1]
Due to the fortress's size, there are railway tracks and carts (a monorail in the anime) for carrying people between different parts of the fortress. In case of emergencies, on the lowest level of the Star of Bethlehem, there are magical escape containers for the people inside it, which can fly out back to the ground. The escape pods look like buses. and/or telephone booths that are obviously modified in some way. There are speakers at various points across the fortress for broadcasting messages, set at a frequency of 50.9 MHz.
The Star of Bethlehem is the ceremonial site for Project Bethlehem (プロジェクト＝ベツレヘム Purojekuto Betsurehemu?), Fiamma's plan to purify and 'save' the world which he saw as distorted. Named after and symbolizing the star that prophesized the birth of the Son of God, the rise of the Star of Bethlehem was meant to signal a new beginning on Earth.
Prior to October 18th, Fiamma of the Right already possessed the Holy Right, deep knowledge of Archangel Michael, and personal resources and influence as the leader of God's Right Seat. In order to carry out Project Bethlehem, he also required the Star of Bethlehem as the ceremonial site (incorporating important items from churches and cathedrals across the world, and elements from the three major Christian denominations), the John's Pen Remote Control for access to Index's 103,000 grimoires and the knowledge within them, Sasha Kreutzev as the medium to summon Archangel Gabriel, the Lambskin Parchments containing gathered knowledge of the other archangels as well as their respective symbols and spells in order to fill in the remaining gaps in his knowledge, and finally the right hand of Imagine Breaker in order to complete the Holy Right. Fiamma instigated World War III partly to gather the materials necessary for his plan but also to draw out malice from the population, setting his enemy as the world, in order to maximize the Holy Right's available output.
Ascent and Clearing the Sky
The first stage of the project began with the creation and ascent of the Star of Bethlehem into the sky once all of the necessary elements for the plan were gathered. Once the Star of Bethlehem was airborne, Sasha Kreutzhev was used as a medium in a ceremony to summon Archangel Gabriel in the mixed form of Misha Kreutzev.
The archangel's power to manipulate the locations of celestial bodies in the heavens was then used to change the sky to a clear night sky - with the Star of Bethlehem being the only 'star' in the sky, readying the stage for the next part of the project. In order to proceed further though, the knowledge contained within the Lambskin Parchments, concerning the other archangels besides Michael and their respective symbols and spells, was necessary.
Correcting the Distortion of the Elements
The second stage involved correcting the balance of the four elements, which had been become twisted due to the Distortion of the Laws of the World. This large-scale spell utilized the Star of Bethlehem's symbolism, representing the star which appeared in the sky to mark the Son of God's birth. The removal of all stars from the sky, with the Star of Bethlehem left as the only 'star' in the incomplete heavens filled with Telesma, was necessary to establish the flow of power in the skies necessary for the ceremony. At this point, he had also affected the flow of power on the surface through the partial destruction of churches and cathedrals across the world which were pillaged for the Star of Bethlehem. In carrying out this ceremony, Fiamma was said to have completely monopolized three and four, the heavens and the earth, important numbers of Christian culture.
Having acquired the necessary knowledge and with the right conditions met, at Fiamma's signal, colored stars spread out across the dark sky as if drawing a veil, first yellow then red, blue and lastly green, the colors associated with the four great elements, which were returned to their proper places as those stars spread out. With the four elements reset to their proper positions, Fiamma was able to gain great power by controlling all four, via the traces of the other three carried within the element of fire which he was aligned to. It also removed the aspects of Michael from Gabriel, so that when the archangel later reemerged, it was in a pure form.
Purification of Heaven and Earth
The final stage of Project Bethlehem began after Kamijou Touma's arm was severed and the right hand containing Imagine Breaker was dissembled and assimilated into the Holy Right, manifesting it in a completed physical form and stabilizing its power. When the Holy Right was completed and materialized, a change occurred in Fiamma's surroundings to reflect the advent of the full power of La Persona Superiore a Dio, in a similar manner to stories where the area around holy ones were dyed in a holy manner (such as the tales of Saint Agnes, who was thrown into a brothel which was transformed into a place for sermons, and Saint Barbara, who was injured and thrown into a prison which subsequently overflowed with angelic power like a spring with her wounds healed). In this case, the sky was dyed golden in the colors of Heaven and filled with a massive amount of Telesma.
At the same time as the change in the heavens, a change also occurred on the earth. In response to the signal in the sky, golden arms (黄金の腕 Kogane no Ude?) of Telesma, with a partially open fingers, continuously rose up across the surface of the world. After reaching a height of 100m, the palms lost their shape, distorting as if clenching into a fist, and the arms explosive expanded from the ground up before bursting. When the arms burst, a destructive phenomena occurred corresponding to the elemental alignment of the Telesma, either directly of that element or derived from it (such as 30m high waves or high-voltage thunderclouds extending across the surface for kilometers). The dissemination of pure Telesma was intended to change the foundation of the world and purify the surface, though the massive amount would result in major destruction in the process (the cleaning being a disaster from a human perspective was compared to the flood from the story of Noah's Ark).. The purification of the surface and transformation of the earth could be impeded by felling the arms before they could burst.
In the wake of the destruction caused from the golden arms, large objects produced from the Telesma were left behind, including giant golden-colored rings resembling halos, long arcs with tapered ends like ribs and river-like bundles of cloth. These materials were likely intended to be resources for rebuilding the world afterwards and described as worth more than gold, platinum or tungsten, however as they couldn't be damaged by normal human techniques and therefore couldn't be destroyed or manufactured, they were more garbage than resources. It was also noted that rather than satisfying people and solving conflict, it might have merely changed the scope of conflict as people expand their range of control if given enough resources.
This was ultimately where Project Bethlehem was thwarted, with Kamijou Touma reclaiming his right hand and Imagine Breaker, which destabilized the materialized Holy Right, the purification of the surface being delayed by the felling of the golden arms and the Holy Right's output falling as the goodwill of the people prevailed, eventually to the point where it could lose its form when struck by Imagine Breaker.
Before the Holy Right's physical form was lost, the difference in progress between the conversion of the sky and the earth resulted in a distortion, similar to a tectonic plate fold, and subsequently a massive flow of Telesma from the sky to the earth like a current once the change had passed a certain point. Initially passing to the Star of Bethlehem and then heading down once it had been filled to its limit, the Telesma would have affected the surface all at once rather than gradually and threatened human civilization in the process, with Fiamma guessing from the amount that at least Eurasia would be enveloped in light. However, the Telesma was intercepted by the white-winged Accelerator before it could impact the surface.
Similarities to Aleister's Plan
Although it was based on an older format, Project Bethlehem was very similar to Aleister's Plan, enough that Aleister Crowley personally tried to eliminate Fiamma after the incident to prevent his own plan from being calculated from Fiamma's thwarted plan, with a unit also being sent to retrieve the Lambskin Parchments before they could fall into the hands of an anti-magician organization such as Necessarius. Both plans sought to change the world by preparing a temple filled with a strange power (the Star of Bethlehem and Academy City, Telesma and AIM Diffusion Fields respectively), drawing out the power of the right arm within that temple (the Holy Right and the Imagine Breaker), and readjusting the phases with that power (dyeing the world in the colors of Heaven for Project Bethlehem, destroying the phases entirely for Aleister's Plan). They also both made use of an angel (Archangel Gabriel for Project Bethlehem and Aiwass for Aleister's Plan). However, while Project Bethlehem was based solely on the laws of Christianity (and thus in the Aeon of Osiris), Aleister's Plan was based in the Aeon of Horus beyond it.
Toaru Majutsu no Index
World War III Arc
- Main article: World War III Arc
On October 30th, having gathered the necessary elements to enact Project Bethlehem, Fiamma had the Star of Bethlehem take flight, somewhat earlier than anticipated due to the advancing Academy City ground forces. Gathering components from churches around the world, the fortress soon ascended to a height of 3 kilometers.
Shortly afterwards, Fiamma summoned Archangel Gabriel in the form of Misha Kreutzev, having the angel changed the sky to a clear night sky and go after the parchments necessary to fill the gaps in his knowledge.
The Star of Bethlehem continued to rise, ascending to a height of 5 kilometers by the time of Fuse Kazakiri's arrival and 7 kilometers around the time Misha unleashed the Sweep against Accelerator, with the fortress sustaining damage from the bombardment but automatically regenerating. Many of the objects in the ceremonial altar used to anchor the angel were destroyed by Kamijou Touma and then the altar itself was damaged by an attack from Fiamma. Having obtained the knowledge he lacked, Fiamma used the Star of Bethlehem to fix the distortion of the four elements in preparation for the next stage of his plan.
As Kamijou Touma faced Fiamma, the fortress had reached an altitude of 10 kilometers. When Fiamma severed Touma's right arm and assimilated Imagine Breaker into the Holy Right, the skies turned gold with Telesma as the area around the Star of Bethlehem was dyed in the colors of Heaven. After Touma regrew his severed arm and as the fight against Fiamma continued, golden arms of Telesma emerged across the world, however their progress was impeded by various individuals. The three churches also worked together to release the joint spells on the Star of Bethlehem, using a relay point placed by Sasha and Lessar.
With the output of the Holy Right declining and the heavens dyed with Telesma more than the surface, Fiamma attempted to send the mass of Telesma in the sky down towards the ground in order to regain the advantage, but it was intercepted at an altitude of 8 kilometers by the white-winged Accelerator.
When the power from Fiamma's Holy Right was lost, the Star of Bethlehem was weakened and began to collapse in places, stopping its ascent. Having lost its power source, it started to fall with its speed gradually increasing as its output fell. Remaining on the fortress, Touma destroyed specific ascent spiritual items under Stiyl's instructions in order to influence its direction of travel and descent, guiding it towards the edge of the Arctic Ocean and trying to minimize the damage caused by its eventual impact.
When Archangel Gabriel reemerged and headed for the Arctic, Touma changed the fortress's trajectory in order to intercept the angel. Landing on top of Gabriel and the water, the shock of the impact destroyed the Star of Bethlehem.
Shinyaku Toaru Majutsu no Index
- Main article: Homecoming Arc
Around the time of the Radiosonde Castle incident (the object in question being made to resemble the Star of Bethlehem), the recovery and return of the parts of churches and cathedrals from across the world that had been used to construct the Star of Bethlehem was being carried out by religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.
Hawaii Invasion Arc
- Main article: Hawaii Invasion Arc
During a press conference in Oahu, Hawaii, President Roberto Katze mentioned how the supercomputer Glamorous Devil was used to calculate what would happen if one of the Golden Arms was just dumped into international waters. The results of the calculations indicated it would change the ocean currents and harm the ecosystem - coincidentally, the waters of Hawaii were given as the only place it could be dumped without causing as much harm, despite the concerns of local fishers and surfers. Besides that, EU was planning to dispose of their golden rings and bones via the Atlantic Ocean, but they did not have enough sources of funds to cover it.
An early draft of the Star of Bethlehem had it with a more solid and fixed appearance, though since Haimura realized that the structure is continually changing, he gave it a more destroyed and ruined look. Due to the vast scale of the structure, Haimura opted not to put too much detail on the design.
- While it isn't confirmed, the pairing of black and white poles, their positioning at the entrance to the ceremonial ground and the description of drawing in energy from outside, suggest that they might symbolize Jachin and Boaz, the two pillars standing at the entrance to Solomon's Temple and symbols placed at the entrance of ceremonial grounds in Western magic to draw in power.
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